Blended families are families with children from multiple marriages or relationships. This type of family has a number of unique estate planning considerations that California residents should consider.
Having an updated will
It is especially important for blended families to have an up-to-date will. This estate planning document should include provisions for all of your children, regardless of whether they are from your current marriage or a previous one. A will that reflects your current family situation may help to avoid any confusion or conflict later on.
Providing for your children’s needs
It is important to consider the unique needs of each of your children when creating an estate plan. For example, if you have a child with special needs, you may need to set up a trust to provide for their care after your death. Alternatively, if you have children from different marriages, you may want to consider how to divide your assets fairly between them. For instance, you may want to set up separate trusts for each child.
Clear and updated beneficiary designations
Beneficiary designations refer to the people who will receive your assets after you die. This can include things like life insurance policies, retirement accounts and bank accounts. It is important to keep these beneficiary designations up to date as they take precedence over what is stated in your will. For example, if you have a life insurance policy with an ex-spouse as the beneficiary, that policy will go to them after you die regardless of what your will says.
Treating all your heirs fairly
This may mean leaving the same amount of money to each child, or it may mean creating separate trusts for each child that are structured in the same way. Whatever approach you take, it is important to avoid any appearance of favoritism as this can lead to conflict among your heirs.
Blended families have a lot to think about when it comes to estate planning. However, with careful consideration and planning, it is possible to create an estate plan that meets the needs of all family members.